You’re reading what? Books that kill the love.


Oh, those pesky relationship deal breakers. You know, those problematic little or not-so-little things that make you want to call it off on the spot. Things like, I don’t know, a Bush/Cheney sticker on her back bumper.

Last weekend the New York Times ran an interesting essay about literary deal breakers cleverly titled "It’s Not You, It’s Your Books." This, of course, got me thinking. Is there a book that if I spied it on someone’s nightstand would make me run, not walk, out the front door? I could really only come up with two off the top of my head. They are, I think, fairly self explanatory.

Fine, lumping Bill O’Reilly together with Adolf Hitler is probably a low blow. Probably.

To be honest, I’m usually not as concerned with what someone reads as I am that they read at all. But I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t read as many books as I used to in my halcyon days of youth (otherwise known as the age before the internet). In school, my summers were a blissful blur of books, books and more books. Yet today the stack of books I’ve bought but still haven’t opened/finished/even remembered I bought in the first place grows taller and taller. Not that I’ll let that stop me from mustering some belletristic snobbery if I were to catch either of these prominently displayed on someone’s bookshelf.

Yeah, I am really, really not into self-help books. Luckily for me, there is no saying that goes, “Cranky blogger, heal thyself.”

Not that my literary taste is necessarily high-brow. In fact, the books that would probably most endear me to someone tend to be favorites from my childhood. Tell me you loved the Anne of Green Gables series and I might just become your bosom friend. Tell me you cried at the end of Where the Red Fern Grows and I’d be happy to lend a kindred spirit some Kleenex. And if you have a dog-eared copy of Le Petit Prince, in French, well, c’est le coup de foudre. What? Misanthropes can be sentimental, too.

But I think my ultimate deal breaker/deal maker comes down not to any one book, but a particular sense of humor. Like, say, if I were to ask, “How do you feel about David Sedaris?” There is only one correct answer. And that answer is, “Oh, man, I cannot wait until his new book comes out June 3.”

So, what are your literary deal breakers? What books, if any, would send you screaming from a relationship? Or, conversely, what books would seal the deal?

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